Posts tagged - Country Kids

Nature in the city 3: A manmade ‘natural’ park

I’ve mentioned Leyton’s ‘Jubilee Park’ once or twice on this blog before. The first time was back in May, when Mushroom and I met the recycled kite maker (we’ve not seen him again since! Glad I took photos or I may have wondered whether he was real!). I mentioned him again more recently in an earlier Nature in the City post about picking blackberries.

This park used to simply be a large green space, with a tiny ‘typical’ children’s park in the corner. You know, swings, a slide etc… This year, along with several of the parks across the borough of Waltham Forest, it has been redesigned to encourage children to interact more with their natural surroundings. So, as well as a large area that remains as it was for the children to run around in, there are also ‘fallen’ trees to negotiate, wooden trampolines to jump on, ropes to help them swing across crocodile infested waters (well they are in our imagination!), rope snakes to ride on and hills of varying sizes to roll down (It’s possible that I like this even more than Mushroom does!)

Here are a few pictures of Mushroom making the most of this manmade ‘nature.’

I like this park and the others that are beginning to follow. It may be manmade, but Mushroom has always been quite cautious and before this was here, he needed a lot of encouragement to climb a tree, or roll down a big hill. The little trees and small hills here allowed him to build his confidence and he now does both without hesitation. His new found climbing confidence means I need to watch him a lot more closely these days!

What do you think? Is it a good idea to create more parks like this or should the council simply have left the space as it was before and let the children use their imaginations..? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your views, especially if you have similar parks in your area!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I’m linking up with Coombe Mill‘s Country Kids blog linky with this series. To find out more and/or add your own, click on the image above.


Nature in the city 2: Touching tree sap

This post is part of a series in which I share how Mushroom and I make the most of the opportunities we find to interact with nature in the city. The first post in this series was all about Blackberry picking, which was an intentional nature mission of mine, being an activity I loved as a child.

This little nature adventure, however, was never meant to be! We were just popping to the corner shop to buy something and I thought I’d make a bit of a walk of it, telling Mushroom to bring his balance bike so he could practice riding as we walked the long way round (it’s only a couple of streets away).

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He rode the bike to the corner of the road and stopped. “Mummy! Fella” (feather). He handed this to me then got back on his bike. About 10 seconds later he stopped again “Flower!” He handed me a leaf. He still doesn’t quite get the difference between flowers and leaves.

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Of course I kept the feathers and the ‘flower.’

When we reached the corner he stopped and became very excited. “Mummy look Mummy look!” I looked.

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“Yes, it’s a tree.” He frowned at me. “No. High! Pretty! Sweetie?” I looked again.

“What is it Mushroom? Show me.” He practically rolled his eyes and threw his bike down at the base of the tree.

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“Up Mummy.” I lifted him up and he pointed.

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“Ah… It’s sap.”

“Sap. More?” And he started looking for sap on every tree we passed. Fascinated by it, he asked for some to take home so I broke a little off for him and he stared at it, fascinated. “Smooth. Nice.”

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So our trip to the corner shop ended up being a lovely little nature trail looking for tree sap. I have lived here with Mr B for years but it’s only through Mushroom’s eyes that I noticed this, which must have always been there. It’s amazing what we miss when we’re not looking.

I’m linking up with Coombe Mill‘s Country Kids blog linky with this series. To find out more and/or add your own, click on the image below:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Nature in the city 1: Blackberry picking

This is the first in what will become a series about how Mushroom and I make the most of our green (and not so green!) spaces in the city to interact with nature. I thought I’d start with something seasonal so first up is a post about blackberry picking!

Not far from where we live, there’s a recently renovated park, imaginatively named ‘jubilee gardens’ (no, it’s not the one at the South Bank and yes, I am being a little sarcastic). It’s a lovely park that has been created with an emphasis on making the most of the natural space it occupies. Sort of. But that’s for another post. The reason I mention it here is because you can either walk to it via the main road, passing the usual bus stops and shops on the way, or you can take the back streets…

One of these back streets leads to a wide open field that houses a disused Scout hut. It’s not a route I’d take during the winter months when it’s dark and not many people are using it for safety reasons but during the summer Mushroom and I almost always go this way.

After a short walk past the hut, there is a bit of a path that leads over a river with just a little “dirty water,” (according to Mushroom) and loads of wild flowers. On the corner, just before the river, there is a massive blackberry bush.

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It’s massive. MASSIVE. It goes right round the coner and this photo really doesn’t do it justice

Mushroom and I have been passing this blackberry bush for a while and I explained to him that you can eat the little red berries but that they “are not ready yet.” I told him they would be black when they are ready. This week, I packed a tupperware container without telling him and said we were going for a walk. When we reached the bush he pointed to the bush and said “Mummy? Not ready yet.” I said “Yes, they are ready and we can eat them!” I was rewarded with a massive grin, followed by a look that clearly said “are you sure?” I picked and ate one to show him it was safe and gave him one to try. A slow smile spread across his face as the juicy fruit burst between his teeth and he showed me his berry stained gums. I the got out the container and said we would pick some to take home and he was very excited. It wasn’t long before he was covered in sticky blackberry juice!

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Mushroom eats all the ones he picks and then makes quick work of the ones I was saving!

After about 15 minutes he got fed up so we headed over the river to the park. He kept stopping along the way to pick blackberries from the smaller bushes we saw on our walk and once we reached the park I overheard him saying to another child “berries ready,” as though he was delivering world news. He kept asking for more on the way home so  I never got to make the crumble I’d planned as there wasn’t enough left! However, I’m sure we’ll go blackberry picking again before the end of this month so there’s still time.

I’m linking up with Coombe Mill‘s Country Kids blog linky with this series. To find out more and/or add your own, click on the image below:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall